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U.S. Open Cup wrap: Louisville ousts Revs, DC dodges “Cupset”

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Three of eight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round matches are complete following Tuesday night action involving USL and MLS competition.

[ MORE: World Cup stadium guide ]

Louisville City 3-2 New England Revolution

The USL hosts overcame a fifth minute concession and 26th minute own goal with a pair of equalizers, and took hold of its “Cupset” with a Brian Ownby 62nd minute marker.

Mark Segbers opened the scoring for New England before Oscar Jimenez leveled the tie. An own goal put Brad Friedel‘s men back on top, but Cameron Lancaster made it 2-2 in the 37th minute.

But Ownby’s goal, well, it was befitting of a big moment in the nascent life of Lou City.

DC United 1-1 North Carolina FC (NCFC wins in PKs)

Ian Harkes scored an Open Cup goal for the second successive season, but his first half goal was met in the second by Marios Lomis seven minutes from stoppage time.

The match went to penalty kicks after 120 minutes were in the books. David Ousted stopped NC’s second effort and the visitors his the cross bar with their fourth shot. Harkes then sent his chance to clinch it wide of the frame, but Bruno Miranda netted the fifth effort.

Philadelphia Union 5-0 Richmond Kickers

Philly built a 4-0 halftime lead, cruising to a win on the strength of five goal scorers: Jack Elliott, David Accam, Anthony Fontana, Marcus Epps, and Jay Simpson.

The Union lost consecutive finals in 2014 and 2015, and move on to another quarterfinal round.

Everton confirm Rooney close to MLS move

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Everton’s new director of football and manager spoke to the media on Monday and Wayne Rooney was at the center of the questions.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup news ] 

Director of football Marcel Brands and manager Marco Silva both confirmed that Rooney, 32, is in talks with D.C. United about moving to Major League Soccer.

Brands had the following to say when asked about the current status of Rooney’s reported move to MLS.

“There’s a possibility he will leave. He is talking with DC, that is not a secret,” Brands confirmed. “We will talk with him and if this is a move he wants to make in the next step of his career, like a lot of big, big players do and did in the past, to go to MLS, then I hope he will return when he’s finished there because he is still a legend in this club. I always hoped to do that in PSV and I always hope to do that here, to use the legends also in the future for the club.”

Everton’s new manager, Marco Silva, confirmed that talks about Rooney heading to DCU were already in place before he was appointed last week.

But Silva did leave the door open for the England, Everton and Manchester United legend to stay at Goodison Park if he wants to.

“Before we arrived this had already started, this deal with DC,” Silva said. “It’s something we expect. We will see the next few days. We will talk the next few days with Rooney because he’s a club legend. We need to understand everything. Like Marcel said, the door is open every time for him. We will talk with him and see everything that has happened up until this moment and then it’s Wayne’s decision.”

It seems like Rooney’s arrival in MLS is imminent but there is a small chance he may remain at Goodison given Silva’s comments about meeting with him in the next few days.

The saga rumbles on…

Reports: Rooney flying to DC to finalize MLS move

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Wayne Rooney is edging closer to his move to Major League Soccer.

Multiple reports state that Rooney will fly to Washington D.C. on Thursday for a 48-hour trip to check out D.C. United and meet with club executives as he moves towards finalizing his move to MLS.

[ MORE: Rooney to DCU “done deal” ]

Rooney, 32, is already said to have agreed a “deal in principle” with DCU but with Everton without a manager following Sam Allardyce‘s departure last week, there is no real rush for him to push through the move ahead of the MLS’ transfer window reopening in July.

It is also believed that Rooney still has plenty of negotiating to do with Everton about the remaining year of his contract.

Per a report from the BBC, Rooney’s trip to D.C. is more about him getting a feel for the club, the city and what will be on offer as DCU’s coaching staff and players will not be around as they’re currently out on the West Coast and will face LAFC on Saturday.

It does seem like Rooney is moving closer to a surprise move to MLS just 12 months after he agreed to move back to his boyhood club Everton after a 13-year stay at Manchester United.

The potential for the all-time leading goalscorer for England and Man United joining DCU has split opinion in American soccer circles.

Many would rather see D.C. United think outside the box and spend big Designated Player money on younger attacking talents from South America (a la Atlanta United), but some suggest Rooney’s star name will attract plenty of interest towards DCU as they prepare to move into their new home at Audi Field in July.

There will be plenty of eyes on Rooney in the coming days as he nears his move to MLS.

Allardyce gives update on Wayne Rooney situation

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With multiplie reports stating Wayne Rooney has agreed a deal “in principle” to move to Major League Soccer, and D.C. United in particular, his manager at Everton had his say on Friday.

Sam Allardyce spoke to the media ahead of Everton’s final game of the Premier League season at West Ham on Sunday and wanted to make it clear that he and Rooney haven’t fallen out, despite many reports that they have.

That said, Allardyce didn’t exactly pour cold water on the reports but it does appear that Rooney will not play this Sunday due to a knee injury.

“If the player wants to go – if any player wants to leave – then I’m comfortable with that. But let’s get this right: Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave and neither has he had a confrontation with me,” Allardyce said. “My understanding of the situation is there seems to have been some negotiation somewhere along the line. I don’t get involved in anything with regards to transfers so all I know is there appears to be interest from DC United. Where that lies and where Wayne lies with it I can’t tell you at the moment. But in terms of clarity of whether Wayne is staying or leaving, I’ll find out a little more later when he comes into training.”

Several reports claim that Rooney is waiting to see if Allardyce leaves Everton at the end of this season, but it appears the English manager isn’t planning to do that (and wants to see out the final year of his two-year contract) despite fan unrest over their direct playing style.

With Everton in a relegation battle when Allardyce arrived, the fact they will likely finish the season in eighth place shows that he’s done a solid job but it’s clear that the Toffees faithful, and perhaps Rooney, do not agree with Big Sam’s long-term vision.

Given these comments from Allardyce and the fact that D.C. United’s head coach Ben Olsen confirmed to TMZ their interest in Rooney when he was hounded at an airport (yes, that happened), there are plenty of wheels in motion in this deal.

Track record of Top League vets bodes well for Rooney in MLS

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Sometimes you start researching a post, only to have just a few clicks on a stats page end any misgivings about the other side of your argument.

[ MORE: JPW on Rooney move ]

Wayne Rooney looks set to make a move to DC United, which is predictably being met by three sets of rallying cries:

  1. MLS is a retirement league (false)
  2. He’s not going to be worth it (relative and debatable)
  3. DC would be better served spend its money on younger Player X “not everyone’s heard of”

There’s little doubt that the fine work of Atlanta United has inspired and invigorated teams to look younger. Better to sign those on the stairway to the elite, not the escalator away from it.

But how often has a top European league starter, let alone a 10-goal Premier League scorer, produced at MLS?

Spoiler alert: Almost always. And the “clear busts” are very hard to find.

Here are two things we’ve learned, when it comes to Rooney or any player coming from an intense season in a top league:

  1. There are usually good signs in the abbreviated first season, but the second year is where the best output occurs (logically due to the stress of going from one season to the next and the ensuing offseason of rest).
  2. These may’ve looked like moves to sell jerseys and spread their club names worldwide, and they surely accomplished that, but class is close to permanent.

First we have to define the sample size, and we’ll stay in recent seasons considering the league — and this is not up for debate — is better than ever.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to finishing 2nd ]

It’s still too soon to judge Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 17 goals for Manchester United in 2016-17 before missing most of this season.

We’ll also steer clear of Americans returning home, in part because that deserves its own post. Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard, and Brad Guzan have met very different fates, but there are myriad components to their moves home.

Who does qualify? We look through traditional numbers and take a run through advanced stats site WhoScored.com to back us up.

Pre-S: For those who say, “but you listed some of the best names in modern soccer history,” … exactly.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Last team: Manchester United
MLS team: Chicago Fire
Age upon arrival: 32
Status report: Unqualified success; Chicago was on an entirely different level when Schweinsteiger was healthy, as the Fire went from also-ran to threatening a first-round bye in the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.

David Villa

Last team: Atletico Madrid
MLS team: New York City FC
Age upon arrival: 33
Status report: One of the best players in MLS history. Don’t really need to write more, do I?

Giovani Dos Santos

Last team: Villarreal
MLS team: LA Galaxy
Age upon arrival: 26
Status report: Amazing start, but jury out; Dos Santos posted three goals and five assists in his first 10 MLS matches, then followed it up with a wonderful 14-goal, 12-assist performance in 2016. Last season was terrible, but the early returns make the deal worthwhile.

Kaka

Last team: AC Milan
MLS team: Orlando City
Age upon arrival: 32
Status report: Unqualified success; Twenty-four goals and 19 assists in three seasons with a brand new MLS club. That is not bad. His second of three seasons here was marvelous.

Sebastian Giovinco

Last team: Juventus
New team: Toronto FC
Age upon arrival: 28
Status report: One of the best players in MLS history. Next.

Andrea Pirlo

Last team: Juventus
MLS team: New York City FC
Age upon arrival: 36
Status report: Disappointment, but not as bad you recall; Pirlo had a bad ending at NYCFC, as his legs and waning passion caught up to him, but his first two seasons were good offensively, including an 11-assist campaign in 2016. He was 10th in key passes that season.

Steven Gerrard

Last team: Liverpool
MLS team: LA Galaxy
Age upon arrival: 35
Status report: Slow start, but a success; Gerrard was fine in his first half-season, but really shone when available as a sophomore. The Liverpool legend scored three goals and added 11 assists in 21 games; Only Sacha Kljestan recorded a better assist-per-90 minute ratio in MLS that season, and he was the 20th rated player in MLS by WhoScored.

Frank Lampard

Last team: Manchester City
New team: New York City FC
Age upon arrival: 37
Status report: Slow start, but a success; “Lamps” came to MLS at 37 after a long PL season, and fought injuries. But despite his age, Lampard scored 12 goals in 19 matches as a midfielder during his second season. Villa, Pirlo, and Lampard ranked 1, 4, and 5 on NYCFC’s performance score in 2016.

Ashley Cole

Last team: Roma
New team: LA Galaxy
Age upon arrival: 35
Status report: Just okay; Considering that his signing seemed a laugh to the majority of fans (everywhere), his consistent appearances with a poor LA defense move this above considerably above “bust” status.